Saturday, November 10, 2007

Captain Moroni and the War in Iraq

The book of Alma is full of many accounts of wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites. Captain Moroni, leader of the Nephite armies during that period reminds us of the difference between the Nephites and Lamanites. I believe that difference reflects the situation we find ourselves in today in Iraq and Afghanistan and, indeed, throughout the world in the war on terrorism.

At the beginning of Alma 44, a Lamanite army that sought to conquer the Nephites has been surrounded by the Nephite army. God has strengthened the Nephites and delivered the Lamanites into their hands. In verse 2, Moroni declares the following to Zerahemnah, the Lamanite commander:

"Behold, we have not come out to battle against you that we might shed your blood for power; neither do we desire to bring any one to the yoke of bondage. But this is the very cause for which ye have come against us; yea, and ye are angry with us because of our religion."

The U.S.-led coalition finds itself in the same situation today. We have no desire to conquer and control Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather, like Moroni, we are trying to defend free people from those who wish to bring the world into "the yoke of bondage."

Marcus Luttrell, a heroic Navy SEAL who fought in Afghanistan, confirmed this when he stated:

"Just like always, warlords were trying to drive out the usurpers. Us. And we weren't even usurping, just trying to stop another bloody tribal upheaval and another regime change from the elected to the dictators." (Lone Survivor, page 73)

Of course, we should always seek for peace. Jesus Christ taught, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God" (Matthew 5:9). However, we are also taught to defend freedom "even unto bloodshed" if necessary:

"And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion." (Alma 43:47)

Pray for peace, but be willing to fight when necessary to defend God-given freedom.


Naismith said...

So if you feel so strongly that this is worth fighting for, when are you going to enlist?

Seriously. It's one thing to say that something is worth fighting for and another to actually do it.

TylerD said...

Naismith, thanks for your comment. Because freedom is worth fighting for, I did join the military. At the age of 34, I left a career in business to join the Air Force as an officer.

The bigger point, however, is that we need to stand up against tyranny around the world and defend freedom. After all, the war in Heaven revolved around the issue of agency. God granted us all agency that we might choose the path we would follow. The Plan of Salvation hangs on this principle, and Satan is still trying to take away our agency.

And keep in mind that one does not have to join the military to support the side of right. We can do many things to help fight this fight such as sharing the gospel with others, voting for candidates who will help to protect freedom of religion, writing to our troops, etc.

Hayes said...

we need to stand up against tyranny around the world?

Would a strict reading of Captain Moroni support that?

Eric Nielson said...

One of the things I have often wondered about with Iraq is whether or not the common citizens of Iraq want us there. Do they really want democracy. Sure, I believe they would be better off with democracy, but do they want it? Do they want us there?

I don;t know the answer to this.

thebubble said...

The only problem here is the many people do not believe we invaded Iraq to free the people, but i don't want to threadjack this post so I'll leave it alone.
I would really appreciate if we as nation would do something about Sudan and North Korea.

TylerD said...

Eric, that's a fair question, and actually, it's the ultimate question since I believe our presence there is about freedom. They should be free to choose their destiny whether it's a democracy or something else. After all, the Lord allowed 1/3 of his children to follow a different path than agency, and we've read in the Book of Mormon that many people voted to have a king (but lost). I suppose my response to your question is that the Iraqis should decide. If they want something other than democracy, let them decide. Under Saddam, they didn't have that choice.

Brian said...

So maybe no one looks at this, comments are old, but I find them interesting. I think the whole Iraq situation very complex and am currently glad I'm not the one making those big decisions that I would have to account for later. I know that the Lord can accomplish much through war, as ugly and undesirable as it is, after all how was America won?

Ron said...

Moroni's faith was quite different from the Bush doctrine of preemptive war. Whether men strike out of fear or out greed, or out of hate, striking first is nothing like Captain Moroni. Speaking of Moroni, Mormon said in Alma 48:14-17, "Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea and they were also taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives. . . And this was the faith of Moroni. . .Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.

Anonymous said...

We need to remember that the tyranny that Morni was fighting started in their own cities with the gaddianton robbers then progressing to the secret combinations in government. We have the same situation today in our own country and to say that you have to enlist in the military to fight it is wrong. I served to fight tyranny from the outside, but now I fight tyranny from the inside. It takes both to preserve freedom. Moroni knew that as you can see by the letters he wrote. He fought enemys from without and within. Naismith, I have taken the oath to protect the constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic...have you?